LIMA, Peru - August 15, 2019 - In case you missed it, last weekend both the U.S. Men's and Women's National Teams earned bronze at the 2019 Pan American Games (PAG) in Lima, Peru.
The No. 24 U.S. Men’s National Team opened the 2019 Pan American Games against hosts No. 55 Peru. The packed Villa María del Triunfo complex stadium was filled with fans decked out in red and white, but it was the USMNT who put on a show scoring seven goals in the first quarter alone and tallying another nine on their way to a 16-0 victory. In their second pool play game, the USMNT met up with a tough No. 10 Canada side. Although the USMNT saw plenty of chances to convert, Canada came out on top scoring four goals, moving USA to second in Pool B. Crossover matchups were on the line in their third and final pool game against No. 32 Mexico. With the two teams evenly matched, the USMNT struggled to score until the final minutes of the first half. Mexico found an equalizer in the third quarter, but a team effort by USA put them on top as they notched four goals in the second half to secure the 5-1 win.
In their quarterfinal match, the USMNT took on No. 69 Cuba to decide who would move on to the semifinals round later in the week. After a scoreless first half, the USMNT put away five goals in the second half to propel over Cuba, 5-1, and on to the semifinals against No. 4 Argentina. The USMNT knew they had nothing to lose as they took to the pitch against Rio 2016 Olympic champions. USA held their ground, keeping Argentina to their lowest goal total throughout the tournament, but produced no goals of their own as Argentina came out on top 5-0.
It has been since 1995 that the USMNT medaled at the Pan American Games. No. 28 Chile was the only thing that stood in the way of walking away with Lima 2019 bronze or going home defeated. It was a scrappy affair that saw both sides battle until the very end as USA scored first and led by two goals for the majority of the game. Los Diablos' attempted comeback fell short with only one goal, as the USMNT earned the 2-1 win and 2019 Pan American Games bronze medal.
With the 2019 PAG bronze medal finish, this marks the first time in 24 years since the USMNT program medaled at that event.
"We are very happy," commented Kei Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany). "We worked for this for more than a year. We are a bit disappointed we didn't make the final but in the end we made the best out of our possibilities and options."
"Having been on the pitch when we lost to Brazil [in 2015] and that possibly being one of the lowest moments of my hockey career to date, to come back and earn bronze the way we did," said Tom Barratt (Greensboro, N.C.). "We know we got a little way to go to start competing with Canada and Argentina but if we can move up two places every four years we are doing alright."
A career milestones was reached during the PAG bronze medal game against Chile as Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calf.) earned his 150th international cap, making him the highest-ever capped male athlete in the program.
2019 men's Pan American Games Bronze Medalist
In their opening pool play game of the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, the No. 13 U.S. Women's National Team took on No. 30 Mexico. The USWNT saw multiple scoring opportunities early but were unable to convert until late in the second quarter. After the first goal, the red, white and blue went on a scoring-spree in the second half with no answer from Mexico. USA produced a dominant first game as they went on to win 5-0. The USWNT faced familiar foe, No. 15 Chile, in their second game. From the instant the whistle blew, both teams brought intensity as they sought to remain undefeated in pool play. Chile put away the first two goals, but USA prevailed producing four goals in the final quarter to take the 4-2 comeback win. Their final pool match saw the USWNT take on hosts, No. 38 Peru. With the Peruvian band in attendance and many fans with vuvuzelas, the packed home stands were lively. USA was held to only one goal in the first quarter but went on to tally seven more, behind four from Mackenzie Allessie (Mount Joy, Pa.), on their way to a 8-0 win and the top seed in Pool B.
In the quarterfinals, the USWNT met No. 63 Cuba, an opponent they haven't played against since the last edition of the Pan American Games. USA secured their ticket to the semifinals with another strong goalscoring performance despite the adversity caused by Cuba’s relentless defense. Tallying five goals in the third quarter alone, USA’s determination to score showed as they went on to defeat Cuba 9-0.
It was the battle of the North American foes in the semifinals when the USWNT met No. 18 Canada to see which team would advance. After scoring a goal late in the first quarter and adding a second in the third, Canada prevented USA from producing a comeback, like they had managed earlier in the tournament. The score was left at USA 0, Canada 2 following 60 minutes of play.
On-ball, off-play and defensively - it was all about connections. USA struggled to connect on the final pass during their previous semifinal match, and knew it had to be the focus when they took on No. 15 Chile in the bronze medal match. The first few minutes brought excitement as both sides shared quick goals. USA stuck to their game plan and collectively shut down Las Diablas' threats while connecting on four more goals, powered by a hat trick from Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.), to secure the 5-1 win and hardware.
With the 2019 PAG bronze finish, the USWNT has medaled in each of the Pan American Games since its infusion in 1987.
Two athletes hit milestone caps in the bronze medal game. Anna Dessoye (Mountaintop, Pa.) and Julia Young (Yorktown, Va.) both played in their 50th international competition.
2019 women's Pan American Games Bronze Medalist